Introduction to Plush Toy Making - Plush Your Pet! | Andrea Gilletti | Skillshare

Introduction to Plush Toy Making - Plush Your Pet!

Andrea Gilletti, Plush & Puppet Maker

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14 Lessons (42m)
    • 1. Introduction

      1:13
    • 2. What to Expect

      0:53
    • 3. Finding References

      2:36
    • 4. What You'll Need

      0:53
    • 5. Sourcing Materials

      1:11
    • 6. Mapping Your Design

      2:27
    • 7. From Pattern to Fabric

      2:48
    • 8. Adding Features

      7:20
    • 9. In Stitches

      2:29
    • 10. Get Featured

      8:15
    • 11. Stitching Seams

      5:27
    • 12. Stuffed

      4:59
    • 13. Conclusion

      1:13
    • 14. Goodbyes

      0:26

About This Class

Learn how to create soft plush dolls from prop artist Andrea Gilletti - owner of Killin’ Me Softly Dolls, an online destination for villainous plushes and freelancer in the New York puppet scene. This class is great for crafters of all skill levels, from children (assisted by adults of course) to working professionals. You will learn to design, construct and sew your plush from scratch. By the end of this class you will have your own adorable and individual plush toy designed and sewn by you, as well as learning some useful and simple hand stitching techniques.

Visit my shop Killin' Me Softly here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/KillinMeSoftly

Or check out Killin' Me Softly on Instagram: @killinmesoftlydolls

To see more of my professional puppet and prop work visit http://www.AndreaGilletti.com

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Transcripts

1. Introduction: Hi, I didn't see you there. My name is Andrea. In this introduction to plush toy making in this class, I'll be teaching. You have to design and sew your own plush pet based on your personal Ted for your favorite Internet personality. I own a small shop called Killing Me Softly, where I make tiny versions of my favorite villains and horror characters. It's a great combination of creepy and cute. I first learned so when I was a child. But I perfected my technique by working for companies such as Basil Twist and the Jim Henson assisting in creating professional puppet. I love plush choice because, let's face it, they're cute, and I love the way you can convey an entire character by retaining a few simple features. I'll be teaching you how to do that through this class. I like making plush toys because it could be very relaxing and very rewarding. Stick with me and you'll end up with a cute little plush toy. No matter your skill level, you'll be able to do this. It's gonna be very simple and very fun 2. What to Expect: Hi, it's me, Andrea. This is an introduction to plush toy making. This is my assistant Susan, who will be my model for this project. Hopefully you have a pet at home. But if you don't, you could just create a plush of your favorite animal or your favorite online animal personality. Let Grumpy Cat using just one pattern. I've created all these different flushes. You can really make them your own by changing the colors, the features. You could really do anything with it. Just have fun. By the end of the class, you'll have something like this. There are lots of things you could do with plush toys. You can give them as gifts you can give them to your pets, or you could leave them lying around your house everywhere. 3. Finding References: your first step to creating your plush. That will be to select the proper reference photo. Something like this would be great, whereas something like this may not be as useful, This photos really great because it shows the color of your pet and their essential features. The things that makes Susan Susan, I'd say, are her little patches of color the orange and the white and her gigantic yellow eyes. Those air things. I'm definitely gonna including my plush. If your pet has any distinctive features, you'll want to include those because that's what's going to make it look really special. I'm looking at a photo of Grumpy Cat, who I'm personally a big fan of. I might come up with a plush like this. I still want to retain my own style, so I tried to make it look a little different than the original. I want to keep certain features in my design, such as dark ears, big blue eyes and his signature SAT based. When you're choosing the reference photo of your pet, make sure you can see the things in the photo that make your pet special, like patches, stripes or a certain collar that they might wear. I like to look at other plush is to get ideas. Sometimes I really love these little Disney flushes. This little Dumbo changes a lot of the features of the original Dumbo, but ever teens a few things that make him particularly him like his big ears, his color and his little yellow hat Keep those things could still tell This is Dumbo, but really just a little jelly bean shaped toy. It's the same with this Donald plush. What makes Donald Donald while he's a duck? So to differentiate him from Dumbo, you give him a little bill and his little hat in his bow tie, and that's Donald's. It's really amazing what a few little features can change on A. I'll show you another example from my own shop. This is my guest on plush from Beauty and the Beast. Even though I took away his face and sewed on these little U shaped eyes, you could still tell that it's him. Things like clothing and color can convey character without going into specific details. The things that make plush is cute are that they're simple, and to keep your plush simple, you'll want to think about color in shape 4. What You'll Need: I'm just gonna quickly go over a list of things that you'll need to complete this project. First, you'll need fabric, either police or felt or even faux fur. If you choose to do so, you'll need corresponding colors of threat to match the colors of fabric that you choose to use. Still need a basic sewing needle. You'll need straight or T pins to pin your fabric together and make sure that your design stays in place. You'll need a good pair of scissors, the only pens, pencils and markers for marking your pattern. You might also want to order some plastic safety eyes, which all be using my project, but you could also make eyes out of fabric, so it's really up to you. 5. Sourcing Materials: selecting your fabric will be the next step in creating your plush pet. You can really use any fabric you like. I recommend using a combination of both police and felt for this project, using fleece for the base of your plush and felt for the features you can get your fleece online from shops like Joann Fabrics and fabric dot com. I would recommend getting about half a yard of please felt is great because you could buy it sheets and you might only need two or three sheets for this project, so you use it all up in one go. That way you won't have a lot of fabric left over, and it's fairly inexpensive. Bounces great because it's about 35 cents to a dollar per sheet. I think that independent fabric stores and online at sea sellers usually have a higher quality of felt than you would find at a store like Michaels. But really, you can get your felt at any craft supply store. If you'd like your plush to be a little bit fluffy, er, think about using a fabric like Sherpa Mickey or faux fur. This will give your plush a nice, cuddly, fuzzy look. Once you have your fabric, you'll be ready to go 6. Mapping Your Design: the next step in your process will be to design your plush On paper, I've cut out the pattern shape on recycled card stock, and I'm just gonna put it down on a sheet of paper and trace around it with a marker. I like to use card stock because you want your pattern to be very sturdy, since you're gonna be tracing over it quite a few times. I'm just gonna go around it with a marker. That way you know where the edge of your pattern is gonna be. Just remember that your plush is gonna be a little bit smaller than this because you're gonna lose a little bit of whip when you So you're plush together. Now I look at my model, Susan. The things that make Susan distinctly Susan, I'd say, are the patch on her head and neck and her big yellow eyes. So on my pattern, I'm gonna put a patch here and a patch here. I'm gonna put big years coming off of the edge of my pattern. Then I'm gonna give her nose and mouth and the big eyes. You can add color on your pattern if you like, but you don't have Teoh. You can really be rough with this. No one's ever gonna see it unless you're making a class online. Then I like toe label all of the parts so that I know which fabrics I'm going to use Where ? So for here I'm going to use black fleas here. I'm going to use white felt here. I'm going to use yellow felt orange felt black felt. And I'm going to be using plastic eyes. So once you have your pattern all diagrammed out, you'll be ready to start choosing your colors and patterning on fabric. 7. From Pattern to Fabric: So now that you've drawn your pattern on paper, it's time to translate into fabric. I have my fabric laid up here for the body of my plush. I'm gonna be using a nice black fleece because it's gonna be nice and fuzzy. So I'm just gonna take my same pattern piece that I used on the paper and trace it right onto the Black Fleece. If you're using black fabric, you might want to use something like a white gel pen or a tailoring pencil. This is gonna be inside of your plush, so it's okay to draw it. You're not going to see that in the final product. Now that I've traced the pattern piece onto the fabric for the main part of my project, I'm just gonna cut it out, leaving about half to 1/4 inch of a seam allowance. You don't want to cut right along the line because then you won't have anywhere to sew it together. So you need this extra space so that you confuse the two pieces together. So now that you've cut your pattern pizza remembering toe leave half to 1/4 inch steam allowance around the whole thing, that's this area, which will allow you to fuse it to another piece of fabric. Now you can select the other fabrics that you'll use for details. So for the main body portion of my plush, I'm going to be using black fleece so that it's nice fuzzy. But for the details I'm going to be using felt because we felt you can buy it in sheets and it's easier to get a bunch of different colors. I'll be using black felt for the ears so that they stand up felt a little bit stiffer. And as you can see, the fleece would just flock right over. So I need black felt. I need white felt yellow and a nice pumpkin orange color, and these were the colors that are gonna work well for the Susan flush. I picked thes colors because they worked really nicely together. Instead of using a bright yellow, I thought that this nice golden yellow would be better for her eyes because it looks a little bit better with pumpkin. And together, all these colors make a really nice color palette. You'll also need to think about selecting the colors of your threads. So for this all need orange, yellow and black. So I'm going to have all my threads on standby and have all of my fabric selected ahead of time. That way you can focus on putting the features on your plush and not have any distractions . 8. Adding Features: so your next step. Now that you've selected your colors and have your pattern piece with a seam allowance cut out of your main color of fabric, you're going to start making your features and pinning them on to the main piece. So since you're just starting out, I would recommend actually redrawing your pattern onto the pattern piece the way you did on your paper. So remember this is the back of your pattern. So whatever you want on the front, you'll have to do the opposite. I'm going to put my orange piece here, so I'm just gonna mark that and the white piece in the center. So I'm going to mark that. And then very important, I'm going to mark where I'm going to put my eyes. That's one of the first things I'm going to do so that I can base the placement on where I put the eyes. It's no. I'm going to put the eyes in to insert the eyes. I take these little solid black plastic eyes. You can get them on amazon dot com. I'm gonna use thes larger black dot eyes. You can get these on Amazon, and they're fairly inexpensive by surging doll eyes. These eyes are 12 millimeter. They're a little bit bigger than I would normally use. But since Susan has such big eyes, I'm going to use them. So now I'm going to take a seam ripper. But you could use scissors. I like to use a seam ripper because it makes a nice, tiny hole. And I'm just gonna poke holes where I drew the circles for my eyes. Be careful with this because this is going to frame where you're putting everything else on the front of your plush. First, I'm going to put holes in some yellow fabric so that I can make the colored part of Susan's eyes. So I'm just gonna use a seam ripper and put a little slit and put the plastic I through the slit. Then I'm going to just cut around the edge that I have a nice round disc around the eye. Once I have the disc cut out, I'm going to put the eye through the police where I made the tiny slits. You want to make sure not to cut too big a hole because then it'll show through. But now that I have that in. I'm just going to put the little backing peace on the I That way. The I is nice and secure. T there it is. I'm going to do that now with the other. I just put a tiny slit in the yellow fabric and put the I in. I like to cut the fabric after I put the I in, so that it's a little bit easier to estimate what the eyes going toe look like rather than cutting it out. And then putting the eye through the fabric just makes it a little bit easier and you have a little bit more control. There you go. So now you have your other I cut out, you'll just put it through the other split in the fabric. So look for your marking and then put your eye through. Now you have eyes. Then remember to put the safety piece on the back. That way, you don't lose your I. There you go, the eyes air now in. So now I just need to pieces for the colored patches. So I'm finished with my yellow fabric and I can get rid of that. And now I'm just going to cut a jagged piece of the orange for the top patch. Of course, you'll be doing something different since your pet looks different. But these are the basic principles of putting that features onto your project. So I think I'm going to make sort of a geometric shape here. It takes a little trial and error and, you know, you could hold it up and see. You know, that's a bit too big. So I'm gonna cut it down a little more If the shape that you're sewing on is going to be meeting the seam of your plush, make sure that there's extra fabric on the end so that it can catch in the scene. So I think I like this shape. It's a nice geometric shape and it'll be going over here. Then I just need the white patch that'll be going near her throat. So I'm gonna cut a small piece of white fabric. I'm going to do the same thing, just sort of eyeball what I would like the shape toe look like. Sometimes it takes a few tries to get it right, So make sure you're not wasting too much fabric, and you have lots of extra in case you want to redo it. So no, I think I like that shape. So now that I have her major patches done, I just need a little nose. And normally I would use black or pink for a nose. But since it's sort of a muted color palette and she's already black, I'm going to use a little bit of brown fabric for her nose so you could make any shape you want round square, jelly, bean shaped heart, something like that. That's pretty much all the fabric I'm going to be sewing on to make Susan's features. So I'm gonna take some straight pins, be sorts of pins that have a bit of a stopper on the end. And I'm just gonna pin these features right on That way they stay in place while you're trying to sew them. Don't worry too much about things being even or uneven. Your plush is going to be cute. Anyway, I'm just gonna pain her little nose on, and then lastly, I'm going to pin the patch on her head Now. I'm not going to deal with the years yet because that's something that will have to tackle later 9. In Stitches: So now I'm just going to show you the major stitch that we're going to be using for this project. Take your threat and put it through the whole of their needle double and then make a not at the end. That way you have a nice strong piece of thread doubled over. Then I'm just going to show you in this white fabric, you're gonna come up. And if you're a sewing through felt, sometimes the knot won't catch, so you'll just have to be careful with that. Then you just go up and down. This is the running stitch up and down, up and down so that you're creating a bit of a dotted line when you're sewing the edge of your plus, you don't want the filling to fall out. So you want to make sure that stitches air close together and the spaces aren't too big in between. And then about every 2 to 3 inches, I would recommend making a not so this is how you make a not You'll put your needle through just a tiny bit of the fabric. You come around and make a loop, you pull your needle through the loop and some people stopped there. But I've been taught by few very respected seasoned professionals to go through twice. So that's what I do and there's your not, and then just keep going. And you could pretty much used this stitch for your whole process. And then when you get to a point where you are finished, so in your plush, you're gonna go through the loop again twice, then I would recommend doing that two or three times. That way you have a nice big not, and your plush doesn't come apart. I'm a big fan of making knots, often because if a little bit of your thread breaks, at least the whole plush won't fall apart. So then you just slip this, making sure that there's a little tail that way. You're not snipping through the not so that's the Stich will be using to so on the features 10. Get Featured: So now that I've shown you the running stitch, I'm going to show you how to stitch the features on to your pattern piece. So for this project, I would probably use black thread, orange thread and this cream colored thread. But for our purposes, I'm just going to use the cream so that you can see it a little more easily. So I'm just gonna take a nice, long piece about a foot or two and thread my needle, and then I'm just going to snip the end and tie a knot so that it's doubled. Okay, now my needle is threaded and I'm just gonna start sewing pieces on. Make sure you're going through both pieces. Just do your running stitch. And for this part, it's OK. You can use bigger stitches because you're just fusing the fabric together. You're not really worried about the filling escaping, so you're just gonna so that right on, be careful not to stab your fingers. Let's go through there. And if you're pieces air very large, you might want to put knots every once in a while. You could put those on the back of your fabric so you might want to put a not halfway through, so you'll flip it over. Just put a quick not in there. Go through twice. There's you're not, and then you'll just keep going. And then, as you get your pieces sewn on, you can remove the pins. That way you have more access. Do your fabric without stabbing yourself, and I sort of think it looks nice. Toe. Have a contrast ing thread going through this so you could even use a different color thread like pink or red, to make those stitches more of a decorative element rather than just structural. Because much time as you need to make sure all of your pieces air secured and in the right place and then make sure you do a nice big not when you're finishing off each piece. Maybe go through twice and then sniff it, leaving a bit of a tale. Of course. That way you're not cutting through. You're not. Then you'll just repeat that for each piece on your pattern, so I'll go through and do the nose. Now I'm going to remove that so that I can get in here. Just do a few stitches going around, then just make sure there's a big knot in the back. Snipped that and then just the one last piece here. So I'm just gonna keep sewing the pieces on here with the running stitch. You can certainly use a different stitch for this if you know it. But this is a nice simple way. Teoh. Adhere your pieces. And I think that the stitches can look nice and decorative if you do them neatly. So just make sure your stitches air neat and consistent. Make sure you don't stab yourself, but I'm gonna make two or three nice big nuts on the back. Then you still have this extra fabric here so that you make sure it snags in your seem and you still have the seam allowance around the edge. So now I have my features, so not, and sometimes you'll want to trim them a little bit based on how you've sewn them on. So I'm just gonna trim the nose just a tiny bit, some very tiny scissors that I have, but this isn't necessary. One last thing I'm gonna do before I start putting the edges together, it's to give her a little mouth. I'm gonna take my light colored thread. But if you're sewing on white, then you'll want to use dark thread just going to go through here. Make a couple stitches for her mouth in and out. Don't pull too tight, because since these stitches air bigger, if you pull tightly, your project will pucker. Then I'm going to go on to the back and without pulling too tightly, I'm going to make a nice not to keep my mouth shape. There we go, and you can also put whiskers in. But I think in this case I'm not going to because there's already so much going on in this area of her face, and I think adding whiskers will be a bit too much. So now I'm just gonna snip my needle, and now I'm ready to move on. So the last thing I need to do before I put my seem together is to get my black felt, which is different than the Black Fleece, because it's a little bit stiffer and I'm gonna cut out my ear shapes. So I'm just gonna cut out a bit of a triangle shape and then see what that looks like. I think that's a little bit too big, so I'm going to cut them a little bit smaller. Okay, let's try this. I think that's a little bit better. So the way you attach the ears is as follows. You'll get them to where you want them on your plush and then you flip them over, you grab your pin. You look at the back of your pattern, look for where you're seem is and then pin your year right above in the area of the seam allowance. That way, you know that when you so below that line you're here will be caught, and then it'll stick up. So I'm just gonna repeat that with the other year, but that where I want it, flip it around to the back and pin it right above the seam. Now it's time for me to so my project together 11. Stitching Seams: So now that you've adhered all of your features to the front of your plush, it's time to so the scene. So you're going to use the same running stitch that you used to so on. The features. Double nut your needle. The nice, long thread. If you're using black fabric, you'll probably want to use black thread. But for the purposes of this video, I'm going to use the nice light threatened so that you can see it. So now you may want to mark this. You'll want to leave about three or four inches open on the bottom of your plush. This way you can flip it inside out and stuff it from there. This is a good place to leave open because usually not going to be seeing the bottom of your plush. So it's okay to have hand stitches on the outside, so you take the two pieces that are cut to the size of your pattern, the peace with your features, and put the features down facing the outside of the back of the fabric. A good tip would be to make sure that your pattern pieces are pinned together before you start sewing that way they don't slip and move around, so make sure they're two or three pins going through both pieces of fabric. Then you're just gonna take your double knotted thread and just start sewing with the running stitch, leaving that four inch area open on the bottom of your plush. You may want to start with a big finishing not at the beginning, because when you flip it inside out, you might stretch a little bit. Sometimes I get a little over anxious and start ripping some of my some of my seem out when I try to flip my plush, so make sure you have nice, tiny stitches that are very close together. That way, you're stuffing doesn't start coming out of the sides up and down with your running stitch all the way around, being sure to put knots every 2 to 3 inches. That way, if some of your thread breaks, your whole plush won't fall apart to be sure that you're going through both pieces of fabric every time you make a stitch. Otherwise, you'll end up with a nice stitch on one piece of fabric, which will not be very conducive to plush making, so As you start to come around, you can remove your pins. That way, there's less dangerous sharp edges. Be careful of the eyes and make snag your threat on there. Every once in a while, make sure you're putting knots every few inches. And then if you run out of thread, make sure you put a nice big finishing not two or three times. That way you can snip your threat and re thread your needle. Now we're getting to the years, so you have to be careful. Make sure you're going through all of the pieces of fabric. It's gonna be a lot thicker, so make sure you just keep going around. It's a long process, but it's very important to be sure that you get every area stitched with nice, small stitches close together. Make sure that you're always going through every layer of fabric. So once you so over the years you can remove your pins. Okay, now I've sown all the way around the edge of my scene, and I've made a big double, not at the end of the four inch opening that I'm leaving at the bottom. Now. The last thing I'm gonna do before I flip. My plush is I'm just gonna cut around here, leaving about 1/4 to an eighth inch seam allowance. That way, there's not as much extra bulk. Crowding the inside of your plush and you're seem will be a little bit smoother. So you want to cut as close as you can to your seem without cutting through it, because then you'll have to start sewing all over again. Citizen cut around here making a little close border around your scene. This is what I'm left with. Nice, small stitches all the way around in an opening at the bottom. So now we're going to reveal what your plush looks like. You're just gonna reach inside and flip. There we go. That's our plush. Now all that's left is to stuff it so on any extra details, you might have wanted toe ad and sew it up 12. Stuffed: Okay, so now that you flipped your plush, it's time to start stuffing. So what I like to use is a polyester batting sort of in pieces like sheets. But you can just use poly fill or any sort of stuffing that you confined. So I like to use this polyester batting and I rip it up a little, make it a little fluffy er, then I start filling the plush, being very careful not to rip my stitches of Make sure it's filled all the way to the seam . That way you get the nice, rounded shape of your plush. If if I had used black thread, you'd hardly be able to see the scene. But for these purposes, I used the cream. You can see it a little bit. You just want a massage it a little bit. That weight smooth. Sit out and gives you a nice, rounded, smooth shape all the way around. Stretch out your edges a little bit. Don't yank them too hard because you might rip your stitches out. You know that's starting to look like Susan, and I'm just gonna stitch up the bottom, making sure you get all those lumps out next since move, and I'm going to use a little bit of a different stitch on the bottom. See? Gonna learn a new stitch. Now she's gonna take your needle again. What a nice long piece of the same threat. And you're just gonna come over here to the two ends of fabric and sort of fold them into each other. All right, now, this is what you're going to do. This is very important new stitch. So I'm just gonna go down here, go through the fabric, and this is called a ladder stitch. So I'm going to go across and up and through, across up and through its you're going across, up, through, across, up, through. So you're making these ladder rungs and then you push your fabric in to be sure it's pointed toward the inside of your seem, and then you pull and your stitches all disappear. It's a great stitch. I just finished this off, making sure that you sew up that whole opening that you've left when you are creating your seem. And there you go. It's all sewed up at the bottom and you'll want to make the same sort of big not Hopefully , you've used a thread that's actually the color of your fabric. Unlike I did so that you could see it. If I had been using black thread, you wouldn't really be able to see this. Not that I'm making. And then you have a nice clean seem at the bottom. And if you are inclined to do so, you could go around your entire plush with ladder stitch, and it'll make a nice clean seem. But if you've done nice small stitches all the way around in the proper color, Fred, you shouldn't be able to see it anyway. So there you go. You have your plush all the way sewn and let me show you the seems unjust. A few of the other flushes. So now you can see if you're using something like this Sherpa for any for you'll want to go into your seem with a pin and just sort of pull out your for that way. It doesn't get matted down where you've sown. So any sorts of for or Sherpa you can go around with a pin and pull out the extra fibers, not with the seam is nice and fluffy, and you can barely see it on something like this English bulldog. You can see, since I use the white thread and I use very nice small stitches on this one, you can barely tell. It looks like a much more professional seem so be sure to choose wisely when you choose your thread colors and make nice, small stitches. That way, you're seem, will look very professional, and it'll keep a better shape. 13. Conclusion: Hopefully by now you flushed your pet. I have my little season dull, and I can't wait to give it to her. But I used the same pattern to make quite a few different dolls like this little pug and even a bird. And just remember that the most important thing it's make tiny stitches in the themes so that you could barely see the stitch and these air nice and solid. And they look professional. Whatever you choose to do, remember to experiment with it and have fun. And this one pattern can make all of these different flushes. So it really depends on the colors you choose and the shapes you put on top of them. It can really transform it. See the family resemblance. I think they look pretty similar, don't you? Since he do you like your plush? Do you want to have it? You want to have your plush? I think she likes it. 14. Goodbyes: We really hope you've enjoyed this little introductions. A plush toy making Susan loves her new plush. And I hope you love yours too Sick of by Susie. Season's gonna make hers now she's gonna make a doll of me.